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Fall SAVY 2017, Day 4- Intro to Programming: Coding 101 (1st/2nd)

Posted by on Monday, October 16, 2017 in Grade 1, Grade 2, SAVY blog.

Hello SAVY Parents,

Thank you for bringing your child to another action packed, problem solving, and challenge oriented “Intro to Code” class.  Students are finding opportunity for engagement and discovery, as well as development of greater thinking skills each week. It is a joy to see them work!

Our lesson this week involved an important new concept we identified as the “Big Event”   Students learned that events are a great way to add flexibility to a pre-written algorithm. Sometimes you want your program to be able to respond to the user exactly when the user wants it to. Events can make your program more interesting and interactive.  Which is exactly what you need when coding video games!  Students completed a project lesson where they created simple video games, and they were challenged to “play” each other’s games and give feedback.  Student were challenged to question what type of “user” or game player they were designing their game for.  What are the varieties of game styles, and how can we code an event to respond accordingly to that style and player?  Should a single click of the mouse cause our “flappy bird” to fly dramatically higher, or should it require several clicks for that character to respond in an adjustable series of flaps to move higher?  What type of a video game could students design for their parents to enjoy on the final Open House event.  (We hope you will come for this!)
Next, students used their knowledge from code class and the “Loops in Art” lesson with Spheros.  Students were challenged to play the role of a firefighter and a scenario of a large scale fire disaster in a neighborhood.  How could they use a robot device to approach a targeted area, circle the area for visual surveillance of potential residents in need of rescue, and return the robot to the firefighters.  Literally in class, it took a lot of problem solving and practice to become skilled at moving their Sphero device, circle a common glue stick, and return to the students!  It was amazing to see them take on this work.  What other problems can be solved with robots in our world?  What interface system problems do we have to solve to get our robots to act on our behalf?
Finally, we introduced a related scenario where students would have to use data collection from their Sphero robots to measure the length of a distance and the perimeter of shapes such as squares, rectangles, and triangles.  Could this be useful if we needed to know how much length of fire hose would be needed to make a safe rescue?  What problems in accuracy and calculation would there be with this type of solution?  What types of changes could be made to the “drawn” algorithm to allow for changes in the solution?  One team experienced the question:  Why is my data collection for distance and perimeter registering in negative numbers, and can this data still be useful?  It was!
We will continue this work and much more next week!